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Watchdog to ensure venue building clean
( 2004-01-08 23:58) (China Daily)

Deputy Supervision Minister Huang Shuxian yesterday urged the Beijing municipal government to strengthen supervision over Olympic venue construction to ensure transparency and avoid corruption.

"Projects for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games should be projects 'in the sun','' Huang told local officials and operators of the four venues that have started construction.

He inspected construction of the National Stadium and the National Swimming Centre in North Beijing.

Huang, also director of the Supervission Commission for the 2008 Games, praised supervision efforts as the first phases of four venues to be built by the Beijing municipal government start.

"It is a good beginning,'' he said.

The Beijing municipal government is monitoring the US$2 billion Olympic projects.

Of that, US$1.8 billion is to be collected from the market through public bidding.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Auditing has finished comprehensive auditing reports over public bidding of five Olympic projects including the National Stadium, Olympic Village and the Wukesong Cultural and Sports Centre and is ready to submit them to the Supervision Commission, said Yang Xiaochao, the bureau director.

Yang's bureau is also overseeing renovations in the area where the Olympic Green will be located.

As the core of the Games, the Olympic Green covers the National Stadium, the Olympic Village and the National Swimming Centre.

Some 9 million yuan (US$1.1 million) in erroneous budget items from seven State-owned units, have been rectified by the auditing authorities, Yang said.

Venue construction will reach a peak this year as 11 gymnasiums and their accessory facilities are expected to break ground, according to sources with the Beijing Municipal Olympic Venue Construction Headquarters Office established last October.

 Headed by executive vice-mayor of Beijing Zhai Hongxiang, the Beijing Olympic Venue Construction Supervision Leading Group was established last month.

Every project is required to receive independent auditing and supervision from authorities in the process of bidding and construction.

Strict financial rules have been drafted by local financing departments to strengthen supervision over expenditure in the construction of Olympic venues.

 "All of the project spending is required to strictly adhere to the authorized budget,'' Zhou Yuzhen, vice-director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Supervision said yesterday.

Financial items related to Olympic projects are handled independently, with supervision from designated management staff, said Zhou.

Zhou, who represents the Beijing Municipal Olympic Venue Construction Supervision Leading Group, said a supervision information network to oversee Olympic venue construction will be completed by April. It will start trials in May.

The builder of the National Stadium and the National Swimming Centre, the Beijing Urban Construction Group Co, yesterday vowed to try its best to avoid corruption in purchasing.

 "Purchasing of over 300,000 yuan (US$36,000) will be done through bidding,'' Yang Shoujiang, supervision chief of the company yesterday said, noting no single manager could decide on a project.

The bidding process has resulted in prices 15 to 18 per cent lower than average, Yang said.

A total of 35 venues will be used during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, including 30 in Beijing and five in Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shenyang, Tianjin and Shanghai, said sources with the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.

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